George Bush vs Donald Trump on pandemics

Suddenly, we wish we had this republican president who does not doubt science. George Bush.  Turns out Bush read the book, The Great Influenza by John M. Barry.

George Bush in 2005 warned that  “If a pandemic strikes, our country must have a surge capacity in place that will allow us to bring a new vaccine on line quickly and manufacture enough to immunize every American against the pandemic strain,”

Donald Trump  in 2020 on the other hand thought deeply about the subject, and declared coronavirus a “new hoax”.

You can tell what he watches. This classic mashup reveals the group that downplayed this as hyperbole. That’s what you get when no-scientists attempt to weigh in on a topic that’s beyond their intellectual capacity. Or don’t read.

 

“Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist” and what passes for news

News is under attack from many sides. There are digital missiles, financial grenades, dwindling readership and viewership, and the there’s the credibility factor.

So a story like this of a fabricated, unverified “source” brings up serious issues. Says The New York Times, peeling back the curtain:

“Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.”

Which is to say, not just old media but new media and hybrid media tend to get taken for a ride very easily.

OK, so this was just a prank –a film maker trying to make a name, no different from say, Lonely Girl trying to make a career. But we have seen this script before haven’t we, and they have had serious consequences. Remember SwiftBoat, and Dan Rather’s “gate“, and Jason Blair, and … the list could go on.

Let’s face it. Trust, has been shifting from authority figures and truth verifiers to (drum roll…) “people like me.” But even we are easily influenced (duped?) by some digital presence from people like us. When we do our due diligence as communicators we tend to assume that:

  • Anyone with a web site is probably above board
  • An organization with a blog is actually quite real, if not transparent. Until it the blog is outed.
  • And anyone who uses Twitter, is transparency personified -until people like “Janet‘ show up

In a recent Harvard study, people trusted Cable news twice as much as Broadcast news. For print, credibility was nearly a quarter of Cable news. None of this is comforting. The Martin Eisenstadt story broke on Cable news first. But the scary part? Even bloggers were linking to the fake Mr. Eisenstadt!

fakenytFun Sidebar: If you think most of the news is made up, take a look at at this edition of the New York Times. From the cover story, you might gues it is a fake New York Times.

Quotes for the week ending 15 November, 2008

“We are now offering a 25% Discount on all Collectable McCain/Palin08 products left in inventory”

Fire sale notice from the McCain-Palin campaign store.

“Simply put, things are already close enough between Change.gov and the Google Gang.”

Chris Soghoian, at CNetNews, commenting on Google’s relationship to the incoming White House administration. He also recommends BitTorrent for Pres. Obam’s fireside chats.

massive employee raiding.”

Agency.com’s complaint that Scottsdale-AZ based agency, specifically Don Scales, a former Agency.com staffer, has been poaching its employees and clients.

“I go dark some weekends and evenings until 8 p.m. because my kids come first. It’s not easy, but I don’t need to be big on Digg.”

Jason Falls, Head of social media at Doe-Anderson, interviewd by Jason Baer

“Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.”

The not so shocking news that an unnamed source for the Sarah-doesn’t-know-Africa-is-a-continent story a fabricated person, carefully set up by two film-makers. Many media outlets were duped.

“Create a video hub for the executive branch – call it GovTube – that aggregates all video content throughout the government in a searchable, user friendly video portal.”

One of the recomemndations by Dan Mannet, at TechPresident, for how the new administration could use multi-media.